Craig Thomson has denied allegations he misused union funds while he was the secretary of the Health Services Union in an address to Parliament today.
He slammed the Fair Work report into allegations of financial mismanagement at the union and claimed his political enemies used the inquiry to attack him.
“I am very conscious in the eyes of many of the public I have already been charged, convicted and sentenced,” said Thomson.
He said in hindsight he regretted not making a statement to Parliament four years ago and said none of the allegations against him had been tested in court.
Thomson said he had “consistently denied any wrongdoing” in relation to allegations of credit card use and prostitutes in the Fair Work Australia report.
He defended cash withdrawals that he made from the union saying that this was recorded as part of the union accounts.
“There was no pot of money I could take funds from,” he said.
Thomson told Parliament he did not have an explanation for his phone records during his time at the union, but claimed Fair Work Australia did not investigate different scenarios.
He claimed he had been a victim of identity theft and said “if you are looking to set someone up it is a very easy process”.
Thomson said Fair Work Australia’s report was not bound by the rules of evidence and was “selective and biased”.
“Its so-called findings are no more than allegations”.
Thomson said he improved the way the HSU was run during his time there and that he had increased accountability at the union.
“If your modus operandi was about ripping off an organisation you would do none of that,” said Thomson.
“I had many enemies in the HSU.”
Thomson was damning in his criticism of HSU executive members Kathy Jackson and Michael Williamson and said the Fair Work Australia investigation was based on their allegations.
“This certainly is not someone who comes to this issue with clean hands,” Thomson said of Jackson.
Thomson questioned the influence Jackson’s partner had on the report as second-in-charge of Fair Work Australia and claimed a threat had started in Jackson’s office that Thomson would be “set up with a bunch of hookers”.
He then broke down before Parliament when discussing the impact of the investigation on his wife.